Dean O’Nale
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Cripple Creek Fire Chief Dean O’Nale said a wildfire protection plan could open up opportunities to attract grants for mitigation work in the area.

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As the threat of wildfire lingers over Teller County, spurred by memories of the High Chateau Fire this summer, a group of residents completed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the City of Cripple Creek.

The plan opens up opportunities to attract grant money for mitigation projects, said Cripple Creek Fire Chief Dean O’Nale.

“The plan is a framework and when you look at protection plans, especially for a municipality like this, it’s great that there’s a focus on the residents, firefighters, infrastructure and natural resources in our beautiful area,” said Commissioner Marc Dettenrieder, who with commissioners Bob Campbell and Norm Steen approved the plan.

The plan acknowledges that the greatest threat to the city is from grass fire and flying embers landing on vacant properties and dilapidated wooden structures inside city limits.

“Thirty-seven percent of fires nationally are grass fires,” Dettenrieder said. “Cripple Creek is an asset to this county historically, and there is a lot of commerce going on. We had those two fires in 1896 and we don’t want another one.”

Eighty-five percent of calls the fire department responds to are medical, O’Nale said. “We have 12 full-time firefighters and six reserves.”

O’Nale was accompanied by Rich Ingold, a volunteer with the Fire Corps who edited the 58-page document.

In other business, the board approved a memorandum of understanding between Summit Elementary School and the Teller County Sheriff’s Office, which will provide a school resource officer during school hours. “The SRO is intended to ensure that no student’s right to receive an education is abridged by violence or disruption,” states the document.

Judge Lin Billings-Vela, Teller County District Court, dismissed the ACLU appeal of her decision late last year in favor of Sheriff Jason Mikesell, said county attorney Paul Hurcomb.

The issue is the source of a Feb. 6 Courier story. “On Jan. 31, attorneys filed a stipulation to dismiss the case rather than proceed,” Hurcomb said.

“That cleared the deck on that case that, in my opinion, should have been dismissed.”

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

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